For some, the upcoming Easter holiday brings to mind plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies. But for others, Sunday is also a time to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Yorkville pastors are busy preparing their sermons for what they call one of the most important Sundays in the Christian faith. But while the heart of their messages will be the same, each pastor’s plans for presenting the gospel will vary.
Hope in God's Power to Transform
At , 8609 Rt. 47, pastor Erik Gauss said he will focus on Jesus’ death on the cross when “the worst-case scenario ultimately happened.”
“Their leader and the one they thought was their savior was killed right in front of them,” Gauss said. “But in 36 hours, that event transformed into one of the best things that happened in all of human history.”
Gauss plans to tie Jesus’ resurrection to the hope people can have even while facing difficult circumstances their everyday lives.
“With all the job losses and home foreclosures in our community, and those that have suffered abuse or addiction, the power of God is there for them to transform whatever it is that is evil into a miraculous opportunity,” he said.
Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church will honor Holy Saturday with an Easter vigil and communion at 5 p.m. The traditional Easter service will be held at 8 a.m. with Holy Communion.
A blended Easter worship service with Holy Communion will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the sanctuary, as well as a contemporary Easter service with Holy Communion in the large gym. A second contemporary service will be held at 11 a.m., also in the large gym. Visit www.crosslutheranyorkville.org for more information.
Seeing God Close Up
Pastor John Bell of Trinity Church United Methodist, 2505 Boomer Lane, is centering his service on Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection.
“On Easter morning, Mary gets to see Jesus close up,” Bell said. “What we’re going to focus on is, ‘Where are the places we see God in our daily and personal lives?’”
During the service, Bell said attendees will have the opportunity to hear others share how they have seen God in their daily lives.
“I’m sure I’ll have a couple of stories myself, too,” he said.
An Easter vigil service with baptisms and Holy Communion will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, traditional worship services will be held at 9 and 10:30 a.m.
Bell anticipates a large turnout.
“It’s the biggest Sunday of the Christian faith,” he said. “We’ll have a good crowd.”
Celebration Over Satan and Death
Hope and joy are what Father Matt Lamoureux of , 406 Walnut St., plans to emphasize Easter Sunday.
“Whatever sufferings may come, it’s nothing compared to the joy of sharing eternal life with the Lord and those who have gone before us,” he said. “That gives us a special courage and strength to endure whatever may come.”
Lamoureux said a vigil mass will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday.
“It will be a great celebration victory over Satan and death,” he said.
On Sunday, Lamoureux expects a larger number than usual in the pews at St. Patrick's Church.
“Even if people have been away from church, they know they’re called to celebrate,” he said. “It’s good to see many people. You always want to be overflowing.”
Easter Sunday masses will be held at 8 and 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit www.stpatrickyorkville.org.
You Are Forgiven
Pastor Patrick Demerath of , 5021 Wheeler Road, will relate Jesus’ death on the cross to the reconciliation of a broken relationship.
“In the Old Testament times, people would sacrifice a lamb or a goat or some animal for the various sins they committed as an act of repairing the broken relationship between them and God,” Demerath said. “But finally, at the crucifixion, God says, ‘We’re going to fix this relationship once and for all. I’m going to be the one doing the sacrificing for you.’”
Demerath said Christ’s resurrection revealed he really was God “and had the power and authority and desire to sacrifice himself for our sins once and for all.”
“You’ve got to believe him because he rose from the dead and that doesn’t happen to everybody,” Demerath said. “This was not a figment of their imagination. He was not a made up man with special powers. He said to them, ‘Because I’m really God and really gave myself to you, believe me when I tell you you are forgiven.’”
Demerath anticipates a large turn out at the church’s Easter Sunday service, set for 10:30 a.m.
“But given the weather, who knows? And a lot of the regulars might be going off to family. A lot of people are traveling,” he said.
For more information about Au Sable Grove Presbyterian Church, visit www.ausablegrovepresbyterian.com.